Workshops & Events

Strong Starts: Urban Farming 101 (Day 1 of 3)
Oct 25 @ 8:30 am – 5:00 pm
Strong Starts: Urban Farming 101 (Day 1 of 3)

The first day of this three-day STRONG STARTS series will focus on farm business planning and budgeting.  Dr. Greg Clary, small farm business expert and economist, will lead this very personalized and interactive session.   Register early so that Dr. Clary can specifically address your goals and planning needs!

8:30 AM Registration

9:00 AM Planning Your Small-Scale Farming Operation
Planning and budgeting are very important when beginning any operation. We’ll cover both topics in this interactive program. You’ll have a chance to discuss your own opportunities and ideas.
Dr. Greg Clary, Professor and Extension Economist—Management

12:00 PM Locally-Sourced Lunch by Joe Cooks Catering

12:30 PM Planning Your Small-Scale Farming Operation, cont.
Dr. Greg Clary, Professor and Extension Economist—Management

2:30 PM Adjourn for Tour

3:00 PM Presentation and Field Tour at Green Gate Farms
Our day will conclude with a tour of certified organic Green Gate Farms. With Erin Flynn, we will learn how urban farms can serve as valuable community resources and gathering places. She will speak about the importance of community engagement in urban farming; the role of public communications; and the possibility for creative, community-centered income streams.
Erin Flynn, Co-Founder and Co-Owner, Green Gate Farms, Austin, TX

5:00 PM Wrap-Up and Evaluation


Texas Department of Agriculture pesticide license CEUs available for this program: 1 General


To register and view the full agenda, go to The keyword is “urban”.

Composting & Soil Health Workshop
Jun 15 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm
composting workshopLearn about compost positive impact on soil health with an incredible program packed with information and how-to topics.  This is everything you need to know to treat your garden by embracing composting.
Talks include:
 Composting – Life After Death
Sheryl Williams, Travis County Master Gardener
Learn how to improve your soil no matter what kind or how much you have by composting kitchen and yard waste.    Find out what compost is, how it fits into the Soil Food Web. Discover the needs of the microbes in your soil and how to feed and maintain them.
Some Like it Hot and Some Like it Cold
Acquire knowledge about hot and cold composting and how your plants should determine which type of compost you want to make.  Discover the equipment or supplies needed for success.
Ground to Ground
Lindsay Razzaz, AgriLife Extension’s Horticulture Program Assistant, will tell you about participating in Ground to Ground.  Ground to Ground is a city-wide campaign that diverts nutrient rich spent coffee grounds from landfills, and puts them back to work in our yard, farms, and garden.  Ground to Ground businesses provide free grounds to customers in bags, buckets, or bins.  Just ask how to get grounds at the counter.  And take all you can carry!
Worms Gift to Mankind – Vermiculture
Some of the very best compost is created by worms!  Clyde Adley, Travis and Williamson County Master Gardener, will share the secrets for success.  All phases of vermiculture will be discussed including supplies, worm sources, moisture, heat, food, and harvesting.
Who would like a drink of Compost Tea
Stretch your gardening dollars!  Produce your own “liquid gold”!  Set up a home compost tea brewing system using a 5 gallon bucket equipped with an aquarium pump and air stones to produce 4 gallons of aerated compost tea.  Learn how oxygen and an energy source can grow beneficial microbes to produce compost tea concentrate.  Tommie Clayton, Travis County Master Gardener – Compost Specialist, will share brewing recipes and tips for using this valuable liquid compost as a starter solution, foliar spray and soil drench.
Zero Waste by 2040! 
The City of Austin’s goal is to reach Zero Waste by 2040, which means reducing the amount of trash sent to landfills by 90 percent.  Austin Resource Recovery has implemented multiple measures to achieve Zero Waste, including a home composting program and rebate.  Learn more about what Austin Resource Recovery is doing and how you can qualify for a rebate on a composting system.
$35 registration fee includes box lunch, water, and snacks.  Attendees must register at, keyword: soil or by phone at (979)845-2604.  This event is presented by the Travis County Master Gardeners, a volunteer arm of the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Travis County. For information, call (512)854-9600. It is not sponsored by Austin Community College.
Egg Grader Training for Small Flock Producers
Jun 25 @ 9:00 am – 3:30 pm

This course will provide small flock egg producers with information and hands-on training to grade eggs according to USDA standards. Producers are encouraged to bring a dozen of their own eggs for the hands-on training portion of the class.

Egg Grader Training for Small Flock Producers

June 25, 2013

Instructor: Dr. Craig Coufal

9:00 – 9:30 Onsite registration
9:30 – 10:30 Egg Biology and Composition
10:40 – 11:15 Egg Quality and Defects
11:15 – 12:00 Eggs and Foodborne Illness
Lunch (on your own)
1:15 – 2:15 Cleaning, Grading and Storage of Eggs
2:15 – 3:30 Hands-on Grading of Eggs

STRONG STARTS: Urban Farming 101
Aug 13 @ 1:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Strong Starts, a five week series, systematically covers a wide range of knowledge, skills, methods, and resources needed to start a successful small acreage operation. All programs presented by Extension specialists, representatives of state and local agencies (including Texas Dept. of Agriculture, USDA’s Farm Services Agency), as well as local farmers. Field demonstrations and training at a local urban farm will also be a part of the program. As this is an integrated course on urban farming (and our farm planning tools cover the entire span of the program), participation in the full series is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  • July 9: Business Planning and Financing
  • July 16: Sustainable Ecosystem Management*
  • July 23: Cultivation and Methods in Central Texas*
  • Aug 6: Local Food System and Farmers’ Resources
  • Aug 13: Sales and Marketing


August 13th Agenda: Sales and Marketing

8:00 AM          Registration

8:30 AM          Farmers Markets

Want to sell your harvest at a farmers market?  Great idea!  Learn how to become a vendor and maximize your experience!   Carla Jenkins, Mueller and Cedar Park Market Director

 9:30 AM          MarketReadyTM

The MarketReady Training program prepares producers to develop supplier relationships with restaurants, grocery, wholesale and foodservice buyers. This curriculum is based around specific best business practices (in communications, packaging, labeling, delivery, invoicing, etc.) identified by current buyers – not to miss!  Marco Palma, PhD, Assistant Professor and Extension Economist

 12:30 PM        Lunch

1:15 PM            Exploring Texas MarketMaker


Really? Social marketing media for farmers?  Explore this virtual market place between Texas producers and buyers, and learn how to create a profile for your farm.  Marco Palma, PhD, Assistant Professor and Extension Economist

 1:45 PM            Farm to School

Improve children’s access to healthy and fresh food, while gaining an institutional buyer.  The Farm to School movement is growing exponentially in Texas and across the nation.  We’ll show you how to create a path from your fields to a local cafeteria.  Alyssa Herold, Farm to School Program Specialist, Texas Department of Agriculture

 3:15 PM           Break

3:25 PM            Share It, Tweet It, Snap It:  Social Media 101 for Farmers

Successful urban farms integrate their livelihoods into the social and cultural fabric of their cities.  Plus, it’s fun to create your farm’s social identity!  Learn how to foster a “personal” connection between your farm and your urban community from author, educator, and social media guru, Kate Payne.  We’ll give you all the tools you need to jump right into Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Blogging and Google +.  Kate Payne, Author of Hip Girls Guide to Homemaking, and FCS Volunteer Coordinator at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension – Travis County

 4:25 PM           Wrap-Up and Program Evaluation

 4:50 PM         STRONG STARTS Closing Thoughts




What 2012 Strong Starts participants have to say:

“Very good experience led by capable experts. This should be done in the counties surrounding all large metro areas.”

“Clearly, the programming was created by individuals that recognize the needs of this group and the resources available. Program was sophisticated in the amount of material covered and depth of knowledge.”

“Great networking! The farm tour was eye-opening. The variety and density of the plantings made me realize that I have enough land and knowledge to launch a viable enterprise. The Ag Econ lecture already changed my behavior. I had no short or long term plan. I now have a one, three, and five year plan, have filed my SBA and gotten the Ag exemption.”

“The series exceeded all expectations. From someone completely new to all this, I found it to be simple enough to grasp and detailed enough to inspire me to follow up on it on my own.”

How to Grow Your Own Fruit @ AgriLife Extension Office in Travis County
Oct 19 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Begin with the basics of sustainable fruit production: site selection; site presentation; specific needs of various fruit crops including citrus, olives, pomegranates and jujubes.  In addition, to review the importance of choosing varieties and optimizing tree health and productivity, much of the focus will be on understanding how fruit crops respond to our every-changing weather conditions in Central Texas.  Tips will be given on how to enhance the sustainable production using Earth Kind principles with conventional crops such as peaches and berries.  Explore newly emerging fruit choices that can be grown with minimal inputs.

Mr. Monte Nesbitt is a Program Specialist at Texas A&M University on Pecans/Fruits/Citrus.

Aquaponics–Principles and Practices @ Travis County East Service Center
Feb 20 @ 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Are you interested in learning more about aquaponics?  Join us for this seminar to learn more!
AgriLife Extension specialists in College Station will be joining us via web video to present this program.

Small Acreage Horticulture Crops Series
Aquaponics–Principles and Practices (web Lync seminar)
Zilker Garden Festival @ Zilker Botanical Gardens
Mar 29 – Mar 31 all-day